Warri Nor Dey Carry Last- 6
The Chronicles of Okiemute in Lagos
Timi Frank was trying to hold himself from laughing really hard, his swollen cheeks and watery eyes however, betrayed him. Linda Bassey shrugged her shoulder as if she meant, “well you guys finally had a first-hand experience of what I see every day calling applicants. At least this one did not outrightly insult us”. Agbaje was not ready to give in, he disrupted the silence while still wearing the stern look of a tough guy drilling the boy that impregnated his younger sister to be a man, and own up to his actions. “Don’t you have someone else more refined that we can talk to? At least someone that is not tied to archaic superstitious beliefs?” He asked. This did not go down well with Okiemute at all. How can someone call a whole confirm Warri guy like Oghare superstitious and archaic? There is no way he will report this matter to Oghare and tell him that he allowed it to pass without speaking up on his behalf. That will not be accepted from a brother like him. It is against the brotherhood code. “Warri nor fit carry last, bad as e bad na draw e go be”, he muttered to himself.
“But sir, you can’t really describe him as superstitious and archaic. He was only acting based on past experiences and not because of some superstitious inclination. ‘Oghare is a sharp warri guy that don’t want to lose guard’, as they do describe it over there in Warri”. Okiemute said trying to defend his friend. “Can you please save us all that explanations and give us another number to call or we are done here?” Agbaje asked more sternly. Okiemute kept his gaze at him as he reminded him of those American movies when a terrorist is being squeezed to released locations that have been stripped with bombs and ready to explode. You know that kind of stunts pulled by CIA detectives with statements like; ‘time is not on my side you motherfucker, give me the fucking locations before I blow your godforsaken head off’. Agbaje was the software guy in the company, and if Okiemute gets this deal signed, he will be working more closely with him. Starting on a bad foot will not be good for him, especially with the great expectations he came with. So he tried to be more diplomatic. At least if he can’t win him on this, let it be a tie. “Sir, can I call him on my phone to let him know that the number that called him earlier was from me, so he can pick up?” Okiemute suggested with the humility of a rat that has fallen in a bucket of water.
“Hey young man, we have standard procedures here”, Agbaje replied. “It was supposed to be a surprise call and not the one that gives him the opportunity to prepare ready-made answers before we call,” he continued with his voice showing he was getting ruffled. This time, Linda Bassey cuts in to save the front and back exchange of words between Okiemute and Agbaje. “I don’t think his suggestion is a bad idea,” she said. “We can at least give him the benefit of the doubt, as long as he is making the call right here and placing it on speaker for everyone to hear”, she suggested. “I will go with the conditions given by Linda”, Timi said. And then signalled Okiemute to make the call.
He brought the phone from his pocket like a dull child asked to bring out his English note and to read it in front of his parents. The slow pace with which the phone left his pocket and landed on the table was damn infuriating to Agbaje. If he had his way, he would have walked out of the room since. The phone was finally on the table and he made the call. As it was ringing, so many thoughts ran through his mind. Oghare can be very loquacious if he is talking to his homie like Okiemute, and before he can be cautioned, he must have said what he had in mind. How to caution him before he plays into the bad mouth of Agbaje gave him a lot to worry about. The first option was to end the call immediately he picks up so that he can tease him for flashing when he redial the number. Thereby giving him an opportunity to quickly pass his message with less unguarded utterances from the unbriddled tongue of his friend. With less time to consider another option, he stretched his hand to the phone to act immediately, but Agbaje intercepted his hand and shifted the phone to the middle of the table. It was game over. Okiemute kept his cool retrieved his hand quietly, and waited for the worse to happen.
Oghare picks up, and before you say Hello, he has started, “my guy how far? You don hammer now you nor fit call person again? One number call me just now, my mind tell me say na you wa show yourself unto say you don get official line. But malle nor let me pick am. Dem say na wrong number. You know as dis women mater be na”, he kept on ranting. That is typical Oghare for you. He will not call you, but when you call him, he will say all what he wants to tell you before giving you time to talk. He is the wrong person to ever call in case of an emergency, but he is a loyal friend and has been there for Okiemute from childhood. “Oghare calm down, let me call you with that number again”, he responded as he stretched his hand towards the phone and ended the call.
Everyone was silent, Linda dialled the number once more from the telephone in the room. It had barely started ringing when he picked up. “The guru how far? Oya yarn me how the interview go? D deal make sense? You finally meet Mr Whyte your mentor?” Oghare started asking floods of questions. There was deafening silence at his end when he heard, “this is not your friend young man. I am calling you to find out somethings your friend said about you,” Agbaje replied Oghare with his intimidating deep baritone voice. Oghare went dumb, he never saw this coming. The traffic of thoughts in his mind was more than that experienced at Apapa. “What has Okiemute told them about him?” He wondered.
“Are you still there?” Asked Agbaje. Like someone hiding in the dark, he whispered, “yes sir, I am here. Go ahead, I can hear you”. “Ok thank you” Agbaje replied. “Are you Oghare, Okiemute’s friend”? He asked with so much courtesy. “Yes sir”, replied Oghare. “How long have you both being working on this software?” Agbaje asked surreptitiously. “He has been on it for a long time. He has tried to develop different software so I can’t place a particular date to when he started this one you are talking about”, Oghare replied not knowing what Agbaje was looking for. “Ok, so is it just the two of you that developed this software”? Agbaje asked trying to rephrase the question. “No sir, Okiemute is the one that developed it”, he replied. “Are you sure someone else won’t come and say he stole his idea after we purchase this software from him?” Agbaje asked again. This time Oghare was getting worried, ‘I hope something is not wrong over there?’ He wondered. “I am sure sir”, he replied.
Linda then took over the conversation as Agbaje reclined on his chair. “Can you vouch for his character?” She asked. “Please is Okiemute under arrest?” Oghare was forced to ask. “No, he is not. We are just following company procedures”, replied Linda. “I won’t answer any question again until I hear from him”, Oghare protested. Timi, that has been quietly following the discussion then signalled Okiemute to say something to his friend. “Oghare I am here, please answer the questions as it is part of the interview session”, Okiemute pleaded. “Guy which day dem start this kind interview for Naija? Even Ministers and Commissioners when dey pack the money nor dey undergo screening like this”, Oghare said jokingly. Okiemute just smiled and told him to please answer the questions.
Linda was about to repeat the question when Timi cuts in. “Thank you Oghare for your time, we are grateful”, and he ended the call. “I don’t think he is the right person to ask the question bordering on his character”, he said. “We need someone else, not from his hood. Either from his former course mates at the university or the referees on the documents he submitted to us”, Timi continued, buttressing his decision.
Finally, it seems they still have to call Bola after all. He picked his phone from the table and gave them Bola’s number. As they dialled the number, he saw his spirit depart from him. He tried to feign a smile but reality has dawned on him. This seems to be the end of the road. For the first time, Agbaje looked at him and smiled as if to say “I have finally gotten you!” He thought of going to ease himself and just leave the facility and return to Warri with his software. But that would not go down well for his tribe, “Warri nor fit carry last for this mater”. He sat down and waited for the worst to happen!
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.